Mendis leads Sri Lanka fightback against England in Colombo

Cricket-England v Sri Lanka, Third Test - Colombo, Sri Lanka - November 26, 2018. Sri Lanka's Kusal Mendis (L) plays a shot next to England's wicket keeper Ben Foakes (C), Ben Stokes (R) and Keaton Jennings. REUTERS/Dinuka Liyanawatte

Colombo (Reuters) – Kusal Mendis led Sri Lanka’s resistance with a fluent unbeaten half-century to frustrate England and guide Sri Lanka to 164 for five at lunch on the penultimate day of the third and final test on Monday.

Chasing an imposing 327 with a series whitewash looming over them, the hosts soon lost nightwatchman Lakshan Sandakan but Mendis’ 82-run stand with Roshen Silva for the fifth wicket suggests Sri Lanka are not ready to throw in the towel.

Mendis was batting on 77 at the break, hitting seven boundaries and a six in his knock. Silva, meanwhile, was on 37 with Sri Lanka, who resumed on 53-4, still 163 short of their target.

Half an hour into the penultimate day of play, Jack Leach angled one into the leg stump and Sandakan could only edge it to Ben Stokes at slip to depart after making seven.

Mendis took a single off Adil Rashid to bring up his 50 from 55 balls, while Silva also kept fighting, despite his occasional discomfort against all-rounder Stokes’ awkward bounce.

England captured the series opener in Galle to end a long winless streak in away tests before triumphing in Pallekele to take an unassailable 2-0 lead and claim a first test series victory in Sri Lanka since 2001.

(Reporting by Amlan Chakraborty in New Delhi; Editing by John O’Brien)

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